Call Center: Job Seeker's Journey
It was in the middle of summer when I was banging heaven's door to show me where I can find money to pay for my kid's enrollment. My credit card bills were way above my neck. Savings and investments have become a thing of the past. It was that time when the US dollar plunged down. I was one of those who cried "oooouuuuch !"
After a thorough evaluation of my kid's capability to be on their own, I decided to look for a job. I went to a newspaper stand one Sunday morning and started my quest. Hmm ! Classified ads didn't seem to be classified anymore..they have become call center ads ! Call centers looking for agents offering sign up bonuses, no experience necessary, college undergrads may apply and free paid trainings. What's even more enticing is their offer which is equivalent to twice as an ordinary employee's allowance who is a college grad, 18_25 yrs old and someone who came from a reputable university.
Wow ! Call centers amaze me. They offer a lot of new things to us. They are just everywhere. They need agents all the time. And most of all, they are not "too conventional". You would see them hiring emo's, rockers, oldies, nerds, regular guys, boys next door, fashionistas, tech savies, old maids, and all sort of people. Now, that's my kind of environment. You get to have that feeling that you will never be left out of place here. Discrimination is not part of their vocabulary. And new attitude is something you get to learn along the way.
So I started my journey. My first stop was in a central bussiness district where parking would be a great challenge. But i went anyway, determined to get that job. After a few turns, I just found myself in front of a vacant parking space! Without blinking, I turned my wheel and parked (my first miracle). I got out of the car and asked someone where I may found the building indicated on the ads. And to my surprise, that particular building was just across the street ( second miracle ). So i went into the building, looked for the particular office, until I found it filled with applicants. I passed my resume, filled up an application form and waited for my initial interview . I saw applicants after an interview coming out with or without a piece of paper. When my turn came, I started with an explanation to my interviewer that it's been 11 years since I was last interviewed and he has to bear with me. With trembling voice and shaking hands, I answered all questions he asked and after that, he handed me a piece of paper with a recommendation to one of the top call centers in the world, apparently for more evaluations (third miracle). I headed to the said call center the following day. I went through another initial interview and took the call simulation test, computer skill, comprehension and listening skill assessment. After an hour of agony on that sit, the facilitator asked me to wait for the result. So I waited. One hour has passed. Two hours..three..I had to stand up and asked one of them about the result. I failed. They asked me to go through an online training for computer skills and be back after three days. Well, that did not surprise me. I was born too early for computers ! So, I went home, took out my computer which I haven't used for a long time. It wasn't functioning anymore, so I went out to a local internet cafe and started the course. I went back after three days. Did I see a surprising look on their face ? Well, they better believe it..because I am right there, just as they said. I took the computer test again which was the same as the first exam, only a bit longer. I waited again for the result. One of them called out my name and asked me to take up the call simulation test again since I also failed that exercise. So I did. I waited again..waited.. and waited. I heard my name called asking me to proceed to one of the function rooms. The interviewer asked me to read aloud a piece of article. He asked me a few questions and told me to wait again. So there I was, feeling exhausted and hungry. It was like I was drained of all energies inside me after having been through a lot of rigid interviews and exams. Then after almost six hours, someone else called me, with a folder on her hand. I stood up and walked. I seem to have walked the longest path in my life. The lady extended her hand and with a smile on her face said "Congratulations!" Wow ! Yeah...I imagined Will Smith in the movie 'Pursuit Of Happyness" walking along with the crowd, floating with tears and a smile on his face. That was me..Will Smith...My other miracle.